ABSTRACT Annually, an estimated 1,285,000 in-patient angioplasty procedures, 1,471,000 inpatient diagnostic cardiac catheteri-zations and 68,000 inpatient defibrillator implantations are performed. The direct and indirect cost of cardiovascular diseases for 2007 is approximately $431.8 billion. The occurrence of plaque rupture with subsequent microemboli of atherosclerotic and thrombolytic debris into small coronary vessels has been confirmed. Microinfarction results from microemboli that are shed following coronary interventions. The aims of this review are to: 1) detect heterogeneous microinfarction using viability imaging, 2) characterize the consequences of distal coronary microembolization on left ventricle function and perfusion and 3) illustrate the progress of non-invasive imaging modalities in assessing distal coronary microembolization.
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